All young people are invited to worship at the Pray-Ground—in front of the front pew, right side.
Infants and toddlers, preschool- and school-aged young people are invited.
Young people can engage with what is happening in worship while coloring, reading faithful books, and playing with soft biblically themed toys.
Adults, please sit within a few rows of your children at the Pray-Ground.
- When the congregation prays, pause and pray too.
- Use the side aisle to move back and forth. But do your best to stay put.
- And when you need to go to the bathroom, go! Take an adult with you.
- Please sit within a few rows of your kiddos at the Pray-Ground.
- When we pass the peace, a Pray-Ground Helper will shepherd your kiddos back to you, so you can receive communion together.
- The greatest disruption to our prayer is never the distraction itself. It’s always our reaction to the distraction!
- Also, be patient. Both kids and adults will need at least a few months before it’s clear how and why Pray-Grounds work.
Jesus welcomes kids
"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." —Mark 10
Kids want to be helpful. They want to join the adult world. And they will, naturally and spontaneously, as adults give kids opportunities to watch and practice.
A “Pray-Ground” is that opportunity in worship. It’s a space in a sanctuary where kids can be kids and do worship-appropriate kids’ stuff, while watching and engaging with what’s happening. Think of it as an accommodation, like a wheelchair ramp or a large print bulletin. It’s access.
Zion has played with a Pray-Ground for months, inspired by other congregations. Often, parents want to have their kids in worship with them and not leave them in a nursery with a “stranger.” And many wise Christians know that children can only learn to worship by regularly being in worship.
Zion Faith Formation leaders first created a Pray-Ground in the Chapel for Wednesday Advent Evening Prayer services. This Lent, we made adjustments. Now, we’re playing with a Pray-Ground in Sunday worship.
“The Pray-Ground made it so much easier for the kids and me. I was able to take away from church instead of go and struggle alongside the kids.”
“Pray-Grounds say more loudly than Sunday School programs, ‘Children are welcome here.’”
“Overall, our Pray-Ground is a blessing, and the positive comments come from the people I least expect to hear them from.”
“The Pray-Ground is not just for children; it’s for all of us.”